Southern Methodist University Announces New Dean of Lyle School of Engineering

SMU said that Nader Jalili is an innovative leader and researcher, known for bringing the resources of engineering education and research to undergraduate and graduate students, industry partners, and community outreach programs.

Nader Jalili has been named dean of Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He will join the university on March 1.

Currently professor and head of mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama, Jalili is an innovative leader and researcher, known for bringing the resources of engineering education and research to undergraduate and graduate students, industry partners, and community outreach programs, SMU said.

“Engineering is a profession dedicated to problem-solving, and Dr. Jalili is well-positioned to help the Lyle School of Engineering increase its role in meeting the challenges of our rapidly developing world,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said in a statement. “We look forward to his leadership at this important time in SMU’s development as a premier university.”

Preparing the workforce of the future

SMU said that during his four and a half years as head of mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama, Jalili led a significant increase in external research awards and enrollment. He also created the Alabama Initiative on Manufacturing Development and Education, designed to better prepare future highly skilled workers through a convergence of education, research, and service.

The Alabama Initiative has guided multiple research projects in the core areas of automation, human-robot collaboration/integration and augmentation and has partnered with many outreach programs to promote new career paths for middle and high school students in that part of the country.

“The Lyle School of Engineering aspires to increase its long-standing premier status in the region and to raise its national profile,” Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in a statement. “Campus stakeholders valued Dr. Jalili’s career accomplishments in research and entrepreneurship, student success and leadership and enthusiastically received his short- and long-term vision for the Lyle school.

“Lyle has a dedicated executive board, faculty and staff who have for years fostered a culture of engineering excellence and innovation,” Loboa said. “Under Dean Jalili’s leadership, we are well-positioned to advance Lyle’s reputation both within the academy and industry and to expand our impact in line with SMU’s aspirations for even greater academic excellence.”

Leading on new programs, grants, and publications

Before joining the University of Alabama, SMU said that Jalili led the Northeastern Piezoactive Systems Laboratory at Northeastern University in Boston, which was formed in 2010 to model and study micro nano-electromechanical sensors and actuators.

Jalili later became associate department chair for graduate studies and research, where he facilitated the creation of several new degree programs in areas such as mechatronics, robotics and human-machine interface, while leading graduate student recruitment and admission and overseeing department research activities.

Jalili joined Clemson University in 2000, where he helped create an industry mindset graduate program in automotive engineering. The program has since become the main component of a major research and educational center in the Southeast, known for creating a global research and economic development venue for the automotive industry, SMU said.

Jalili has been primary investigator or Co-PI on more than $17 million in external funding, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Defense in the domain of vibration, control, and robotic-based manufacturing,

He is the author or co‐author of more than 350 peer‐refereed technical publications, including 135 journal papers, two textbooks, five book chapters, and two U.S. patents, SMU said.

Jalili is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has chaired numerous society committees and edited several engineering academic journals. He is the recipient of more than 30 international, national, and institutional awards for his research, leadership, teaching, and service.

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